"This 1934 Pagliacci features Beniamino Gigli at his prime in one of his signature roles. The dynamism of the voice, the communicativeness, and the total assumption of the character are rarely--if ever--heard today. (The disc also includes a bonus track of Gigli singing Arlecchino's serenade). Iva Pacetti is just as convincing in her defiant portrayal of the unfaithful Nedda. She and Leone Paci sing radiantly in the Nedda/Silvio duet. Mario Basiola brings fine voice to Tonio, though I admit to feeling more fear at the rage depicted by Giuseppe Taddei on Karajan's classic La Scala recording. Franco Ghione's at times taut, at times tender conducting makes for a suitably dramatic presentation of the score. This is yet another beautiful restoration by Ward Marston, which presents the voices in a realistic dynamic range, astonishing for 1934...if spectacular singing is your primary concern, you'll find it here in abundance."
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